Dozens of migrants headed to US kidnapped at gunpoint off bus in Mexico



Mexican authorities are frantically searching for 31 migrants from five Latin American countries who were abducted at gunpoint by gangsters from a bus headed to the US border over the weekend.

Masked men brandishing guns on Saturday stopped the bus on the highway in the city of Reynosa, Federal Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez said.

The bus was traveling from Monterrey to Matamoros, which is located just across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

The gunmen forced all 36 people off the bus, operated by the company Senda, and then whisked 31 of them away in five vehicles.

Although the reason for the kidnap is unknown, it has become common for cartels to kidnap migrants and hold them to ransom.

The abducted migrants were from Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras and Mexico, according to Rodríguez.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro confirmed Tuesday that four Colombians were among the captives.

5 Thirty-one migrants headed for the US border were abducted from this bus in Mexico Saturday. The International Organization for Migration

5 Masked and armed men bordered the bus in the city of Reynosa and removed 31 migrants from five Latin American countries. Mexico National Guard

The passengers were headed to the border for scheduled asylum hearings with US officials, according to local reports.

The Mexican National Guard, Army and Navy have tried to track the migrants’ cell phones, reviewed surveillance video from the bus and combed through the area by helicopter for signs of the missing, according to Rodriguez, but so far there have been few leads.

5 Mexican authorities have been searching for the missing migrants by trying to track their phones and reviewing surveillance video from the bus. The International Organization for Migration

5 Members of the Mexican National Guard watch over migrants who have abandoned a caravan headed towards the United States, in the city of Mapastepec, state of Chiapas, Mexico, Saturday. Juan Manuel Blanco/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“We hope to quickly find the location of the victims,” Rodriguez said.

The secretary noted the number of migrants abducted on Dec. 30 was “unusual,” because recently gangs have been snatching people in small groups, sometimes from buses, and held for ransom.

Migrants and human rights activists have for months been raising red flags about an escalating kidnapping crisis in the crime-ridden Tamaulipas border region, especially in Reynosa, which has become a hotbed of rival gangs fighting for control of the area.

5 It is not uncommon for migrants in Mexico to be kidnapped for ransom by gangs. CN13 Noticias

Tamaulipas state is no stranger to kidnappings. In 2019, nearly two dozen people were marched off a bus in the area, never to be seen again.

In 2010, members of the notoriously ruthless Zetas drug cartel slaughtered 72 Central American migrants, after forcing them off buses near the city of San Fernando.

With Post wires


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